So, you come up with a fantastic idea that no-one’s ever thought of and you want to get it to market and make your first million! What a fantastic idea, you think! And then you start thinking about how you are going to achieve this.
I’ve given birth to two children, and let me tell you, my third child, the Bagsablaze light, has been a whole lot harder! Here’s why:
- A pregnancy is 40 weeks, give or take a week or two here or there! Getting a product to market is more along the lines of ‘how long is a piece of string’. As much as you set up time-lines and schedules, you are often reliant on the input of others who work to their own schedules and time-lines. You’re dealing with a moving target here, and sometimes the end is never in sight.
- Pregnancy, baby books, online info and family advice abound, but when you’re bringing a new product to market there is no constant. Advice can be hard to find and contradictory and you often need to go by your gut feel on whom to trust.
- Having a baby in a hospital with a gynae present or at home with a mid-wife is a choice you have to make, and often your friends have gone through something similar so you get their input. Finding a good patent attorney and industrial designer takes some work, and most of us new inventor types have not met anyone else who’s come up with a fantastic idea and actually done something about it! So when you first embark on this journey there aren’t too many people around you who know what you should do and who you should talk to.
- Having a baby costs money, but this can be budgeted for because these expenses are pretty straight forward and quite easy to forecast. Bringing a new product to market will probably cost more than you expected and it’s almost impossible to forecast any of it. We go back to that ‘how long is a piece of string’!
- At the end of a pregnancy, you get to hold your precious, sweet bundle of joy and revel in the beginnings of a new life. At the end of the design process, you start a whole new ball game of prototyping, manufacture, international standards, shipping costs and risks….. the list is endless! It’s like starting a new pregnancy with each new process! And still you don’t have that bundle of joy to hold onto. And as soon as the product is out there it needs to be revised, upgraded, updated….., and the whole process starts again!
But, in saying all of the above, the process of developing ‘my third child’ has been just as rewarding. I’ve learnt a lot about myself, as well as the design process and how things work. Things I never would’ve learnt had I not ventured along this path. And although it hasn’t been cheap, the learnings and the experience have been priceless! I’d do it again tomorrow! (Another baby? Maybe not!)